Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Justice Delayed & Denied to Allentown News Carrier

On Monday, I met congressional candidate Sam Bennett's 78 year-old newspaper delivery man. I'll call him Mr. A. He has asked me to keep his name and address off this post. He is afraid. He has reason to be afraid. From Bennett to Allentown police to the Morning Call itself, Mr. A has clearly been ignored. Old folks seem to mean very little to them.

Background

Let me tell you a little bit about Mr. A. When I visited him on Monday in west Allentown, the first thing I noticed was his yard. Every square inch was growing lettuce and other edibles. When I walked inside his modest home, vegetables of all kinds were growing all over the place. Mr. A is on a vegan diet. While I was at his home, a nice lady and her pretty young daughter dropped by with a few vegan meals. He promised to repay their kindness with plenty of veggies in a few weeks. I was thinking about cheeseburgers.

Mr. A speaks three different languages, is well-educated and was employed as a professional before his retirement. He began work as a newspaper delivery man so that he could control his high blood pressure. He had trouble staying on an exercise program, but the delivery job did the trick. In a month, his blood pressure was perfect.

Mugging on Bennett's Porch

On October 27th, at 4:30 AM, Mr. A had just picked up his newspapers and was starting his route. His very first home is the Historic Benner Home owned by congressional candidate Sam Bennett. As Mr. A ascended the steps, he was grabbed from behind and thrown onto the steps like a rag doll. A Hispanic-looking man, between 25 and 35, simply said "Money! I need money." He tussled with this fellow, who was wearing a long jacket between beige and orange in color along with some sort of black cloth on his head. During the encounter, Mr. A noticed that Sam Bennett had opened one of her windows and was watching the incident. By the time she came outside, the assailant was gone. He had taken about $20, a driver's license and a credit card.

Sam Bennett and Mr. A agreed about the description of his assailant. She commiserated with him, telling him she had been robbed herself. She promised to call police. Mr. A sat on her porch and waited thirty minutes. No police officer showed up, so he finished his route, went home and called police himself. He also called Bennett to ask why she never called the police, but all he got was her voice mail. Officer Heiserman came to Mr. A's home and took a statement (Complaint 07-90144). At this point, Mr. A learned that no one had called police before his own call.

Mr. A Disputes Sam Bennett's Stories

Sam Bennett actually has two explanations for this incident. At first, she was somewhat incredulous. "I broke up that mugging. What are you talking about? I've even called in stabbings. We are the first ones to call in disturbances. He [Mr. A] was getting mugged on my front steps, and I went outside in my pajamas and broke it up. I made sure he was OK. I told him to stop delivering the paper in the dark. He was traumatized. I stayed in communication with him throughout that whole thing. I was not the one who called the dispatcher. I get my paper later now. I told him not to deliver until it is lighter."

Later that day, she sent me an email to "add" to her original story, although it appears to be inconsistent with her original statement. "Living as we do next door to the Hotel Traylor, my husband and I over the years have found ourselves calling the police frequently about stabbings, gunshots, street fights and more. When I jumped out of bed and flung open the front door of our home early that morning, I incorrectly assumed it was yet another drunken interaction on our front steps. My response was to admonish the misbehavers and send them home. I did not know that our newspaper man had actually been mugged until the next day when he and I spoke on the phone. I’m glad I opened my door and hopefully prevented further harm from being committed in response to the noise I heard. But in hindsight I wish that I had known what was really happening, because in that event I would have called the police.”

I read each explanation to Mr. A. After hearing Version #1, Mr. A simply stated, "That is false." Once I read Version #2, Mr. A quietly responded, "This is a lie, too."

Morning Call Screws Up its Story, Too!

The day after the mugging, the Morning Call did run a story, asking anyone with information to call the police. But instead of reporting that Mr. A was robbed at the Historic Benner Home, the paper erroneously listed Mr. A's own address. After many calls, the paper finally ran a brief correction to indicate that the robbery had actually occurred at 25 South 15th Street. That was November 10.

Allentown Police Conduct Shoddy Investigation

In addition to losing $20, Mr. A also lost a credit card. Right after calling police, Mr. A also called his credit card company. He was told the card had already been used three times at two different locations - the Sunoco at 12th & Hamilton and the 7-11 at 7th & Linden. Mr. A visited both stores to see if there were any surveillance photos. Sunoco had surveillance videos, but refused to show them to Mr. A, claiming they could only show them to police.

But thank heaven for 7-11. The manager took pity on Mr. A, and gave him a computer copy of a photo of Mr. A's assailant, taken as A's credit card was used to purchase cartons of cigarettes. You can see a grainy copy of that photo at the top of this blog.

Mr. A immediately called police, but they told him they "didn't have time to look." They refused to go to either store. He was told he would have to wait for a detective.

A neighbor, who works for the Lehigh County District Attorney, told him her office has detectives, and two of them soon visited Mr. A. Although they lack jurisdiction to investigate, they at least made sure that an Allentown detective, Thomas Anderson, was assigned to the case.

Unfortunately, Detective Anderson has had no time to investigate this matter, either. "I told him those videos don't last forever, but Anderson claimed he doesn't have time." When Mr. A showed Detective Anderson the picture he obtained on his own, the investigator snapped, "You're not supposed to have that." Anderson did eventually send a written request for the videos. But it was too late. The videos are gone.

In the meantime, Mr. A actually saw his assailant in the Hotel Traylor lobby. He called for Detective Anderson, who was unavailable. He spoke to Anderson's boss, who told him they were "too busy" to do anything.

Mr. A finally called Congressman Charlie Dent. He tells me Dent called some Allentown official in his presence and in no uncertain terms told him to do his job.

Not long after that, Detective Anderson did stop by Mr. A's home with a picture. Mr. A was at the hospital undergoing tests. His high blood pressure has returned. "The magic is gone." Mr. A has since visited the police department repeatedly to try and see Anderson, but he's always too busy, working a different shift, in the middle of an interview, etc.

Mr. A believes Allentown police are making the city "a paradise for the criminals." Given what he's gone through, I can understand his reluctance to give his name or precise address. It's more likely he will be visited by his assailant than a cop.

Morning Call Has No Regard For Robbed Carrier

The Morning Call demonstrated its disdain for Mr. A from the onset. It failed to publish the address where the robbery occurred, instead listing the home address of its own carrier. I asked him how the paper reacted. "Nobody approached me to ask if I was OK. I doubt the higher ups know anything. Those in Circulation just don't care."

Mr. A also tells me the newspaper at one time paid all carriers equally and distributed papers through its trucks. Now different carriers get different pay and he must go to headquarters himself for the paper, and is actually charged rent to put the paper together. "They are losing $4 million a year and are trying to get the money from the carriers." While he gets screwed, Mr. A tells me customers like Sam Bennett get a special discounted rate for her newspaper.

Conclusion

Last week, I told you about the problems Kari Holmes has had getting Allentown police to do anything concerning a racially-motivated assault. Mr. A's experience is even worse. He's been snubbed by a congressional candidate, Allentown police and a newspaper. Despite having a picture of his assailant and seeing him in the Hotel Traylor lobby, he's been ignored. The paper for whom he works offers no condolences and can't even get its report right. And the congressional candidate who was an eyewitness to the robbery has given varying accounts.

82 comments:

A.J. Cordi said...

Bernie,

This is an excellent report. I felt helpless just reading it!

Bill said...

Bernie

Thank you for reporting this, but it raises still more questions.

Why does the APD not have time to investigate serious crimes?

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, i resent your implications. this very evening mayor pawlowski will be conducting another neighborhood meeting on crime. why should the city waste its effort to catch one violent mugger, when they can reassure a roomful of voters with the same effort?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Why does the APD not have time to investigate serious crimes?

That was the biggest shock to me. I guess an old guy who gets roughed up and is robbed is not so important. It's a sign that APD is overwhelmed and in crisis. My suspicion is that it is woefully understaffed. I also think the MC would have just a little more regard for one of its own carriers.

Bill Villa said...

In my experience, to get even a table scrap of justice in crony-closed-loop Allentown PA, one must scream, kick, bite, punch, throw elbows, pull hair, scream some more, figuratively head-butt Allentown "justice system" officials, and (most importantly) get about 600 people to write letters to these snoozing officials in an election season. Caveat: while these maneuvers will get you your table scrap of justice, they will have no effect whatsoever on The Morning Call.

Bill Villa said...

"When Mr. A showed Detective Anderson the picture he obtained on his own, the investigator snapped, "You're not supposed to have that.""

... this reminds me of what DA Jim Martin said to me when I told him I knew the surrealistically high speed the drunk driver who killed my daughter Sheena was traveling right before he lost control and crashed ("minimum 85 mph" ... on a 35 mph residential street) which the police told me.

DA Martin got all red-faced, pointed his finger at me, the grieving father, and bellowed, I'LL COME AFTER YOU! I'LL COME AFTER YOU IN THE MEDIA!"

Bernie, while your post today is shocking, it's not surprising, not to me anyway. It's how far too many victims of crime are treated in Allentown by its justice system and monopoly "newspaper."

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely outrageous!

Bill Villa said...

... they don't like it around here when crime victims take the initiative ... like how "Mr. A" obtained and presented a photo of his attacker to Detective Anderson ... and like how I presented DA Jim Martin with a half-dozen precedent cases regarding Third Degree Murder for a DUI death being successfully charged, convicted, and upheld on appeal in Pennsylvania. There seems to be a deeply-rooted aversion to learning anything new after years of believing you know it all ...

Carol Mickley said...

"this very evening mayor pawlowski will be conducting another neighborhood meeting on crime."

Mike - Do you know where tonight's meeting is to be held? Our church, Seibert EC, 10th and Allen, was getting the word out over the last two weeks to congregants about a meeting with the mayor scheduled for tonight, I assume through Kim's Block Watch. Then on Sunday it was announced that the meeting was cancelled – they received notice on Friday that there was a scheduling conflict. I’m wondering what the conflict was and where the meeting is instead. 10th and Allen seemed like a good location, right in the midst of the recent homicides.

Bernie O'Hare said...

According to one of many news releases that litter the city website, two meetings are scheduled today. "A sixth meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 27 at 1pm at the Jewish Community Center small auditorium at 702 N. 22nd Street. A seventh meeting is being added also on Tuesday, May 27. It will begin at 6pm at Cleveland Elementary School at 424 N. 9th Street."

carol mickley said...

Thanks for this info. (I should have remembered that the city's website is now updated more than once a year.)

Anonymous said...

Thank You,

The APD is the real problem.

Lazy crooks for the most part.

Anonymous said...

The thing I love about this story is how this guy was like Matlock in tracking this stuff down.

Both of Bennett's versions of what happened are really in question.

Chris Miller said...

Bernie
Why are you surprised about this? The police across this nation are not doing their job. Sit at my house and watch the speeders. We have a larger force per square mile then Colonial Northampton. Sit on I-78 at the Hellertown exit alongside the state troopers who watch the speeding trucks roll by and take no action. As for the Morning Call, they do not care about their paying customers so wy would they care about their employees? Take Mr A to the Firing Line, buy him a nice 40 caliber Glock and teach him how to shoot. Problem solved. I'll even chip in.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The thing I love about this story is how this guy was like Matlock in tracking this stuff down.

Mr. A may be 78 years old, but is nobody's fool. His detailed story, together with his notes, is a compelling indictment of Bennett, the APD and Morning Call. All should hang their heads in shame.

A.J.C. said...

Anon 1:33

I challenged both of Bennett's versions immediately after they were posted. They didn't blend well together and now she's got some serious explaining to do, although she probably won't.

Bill Villa said...

We've all seen nature films where a lion or a tiger chases down and attacks and rips apart an antelope as the rest of the herd runs like hell instinctively relieved it's not them who's suddenly dead.

Human herds can behave in much the same way.

Until crime attacks you or someone you care about, you won't care. You'll run like hell (or maybe even saunter away and not even look over your shoulder at what happened) just relieved that it's not you who's been changed forever.

Scavengers like The Morning Call and slackers like Detective Anderson and DA Jim Martin count on this herd mentality.

It's how they get away with ignoring certain crimes and many crime victims-- sometimes even getting away with siding with select/connected criminal defendants.

I'd like to see us humans here in Allentown PA watch out for each other better and speak up louder and clearer and with one voice because the local game wardens are asleep at the switch.

They are not serving or protecting us.

In many cases, they are further victimizing and traumatizing us.

Let's remember who these animals are the next survival of the fittest/natural selection (i.e., election) time and also when your Morning Call subscription comes due for renewal or cancellation.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

Why would Mr. A want the police to pursue this? It has already been declared that crime is down in the city.

Mr. A. must just be a naysayer.

Valima said...

What an outrage! Uggh!

At what point did the police department, DA and other elected officials stop working for WE THE PEOPLE?

I know it is emotionally draining but if I were Mr.A, I would continue to question those who are responsible for seeing that this criminal has been caught and prosecuted.

" michael molovinsky said...
bernie, i resent your implications. this very evening mayor pawlowski will be conducting another neighborhood meeting on crime. why should the city waste its effort to catch one violent mugger, when they can reassure a roomful of voters with the same effort?" Are you serious?

Anonymous said...

It would have been nice if Bennett would have done the simple decency of calling 911 for this man.

She doesn't have to perform a superhuman crimefighting act like she said she did in her account of what happened. Nobody asked her to be Batman.

All she needed to do was to call 911 like she said she was going to do.

hayshaker said...

I knew the APD was in trouble a few months ago when the article ran that an officer was hit from behind in the head with a brick when attempting to stop 3 kids spraying graffiti.

Are the police not only understaffed but under-trained?

Is Mr. A a minority? That could have something to do with the police reaction considering the Holmes story.

Also, the surveillance photo does not match the description given of a long coat and a black cloth on the head.

Finally, I find this talk of the Hotel Traylor distressing. I didn't know the Traylor was a code word for "place with bad people." How Allentown has fallen.

hayshaker said...

Was calling 911 appropriate in this circumstance?

Bill Villa said...

"I know it is emotionally draining but if I were Mr.A, I would continue to question those who are responsible for seeing that this criminal has been caught and prosecuted."

I agree and my advice to Mr. A would be: "pace yourself because this may take a while."

I've politely asked for a "welcome mat" meeting with The Morning Call Editorial Board one hundred ten (110) times so far since September 2007. All 110 requests have been either rejected or ignored by The Morning Call who has also ignored/rejected offers to mediate the meeting made on my behalf by the Chairman of the Lehigh County Commissioners and an Allentown City Council person.

But this is nothing compared to the stonewall of ignoring I've gotten from DA Jim Martin. I've been asking Mr. Martin for two (2) reasonable answers to two (2) reasonable questions I have regarding my daughter Sheena's death case for over two (2) years. I've lost count of the # of requests for answers I've made to DA Jim Martin ... say 500? Each one totally ignored.

I hope Mr. A can get through and get his answers sooner ...

Anonymous said...

Have you notice, there seems for be a cause and effect were there a call for police. The lower number of posters interested in the issue.

It's one reason the Republican party is going to get slaughtered in November.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19347.htm

Anonymous said...

Allentown is broken and it needs fixing.

Captain Obvious

A.J.C. said...

Also, the surveillance photo does not match the description given of a long coat and a black cloth on the head.

You don't think it's possible that he removed his coat and ditched the cloth?

Anonymous said...

"Have you notice, there seems for be a cause and effect were there a call for police. The lower number of posters interested in the issue."

I'll bet the English translation is blogospherial dynamite.

Anonymous said...

"Was calling 911 appropriate in this circumstance?"

I believe it was, especially if she was asked to do so and said she would.

Under what circumstances would it not be appropriate to call 911 if you see someone getting mugged?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Valima, Michael M has a dry sense of humor and was playing with us.

Anonymous said...

"Have you notice, there seems for be a cause and effect were there a call for police. The lower number of posters interested in the issue."


Pardon my ignorance, but what is the English translation?

Oh, for Pete's sake! said...

Is this the same detective Thomas Anderson was recently given a commendation for achievement as reported in a May 15, 2008, MC article?

Hopefully he will continue to achieve by apprehending Mr. A's mugger, who most likely has robbed/will rob other people in Allentown.

Catching criminals is still a great way to fight crime, isn't it?

hayshaker said...


You don't think it's possible that he removed his coat and ditched the cloth?


Duh, I didn't think of that. I'm a numbskull.

Of course I thought of that. Did the dude ID the guy's face? If not, how does he know this is the guy? Does the tape align with credit card receipts? This is why the cop doesn't want pissed off Matlocks running around.

Anonymous said...

"Does the tape align with credit card receipts? This is why the cop doesn't want pissed off Matlocks running around."

Hey if the numbskull shoot fits -- where it.

Of course the tape aligns with the credit card usage. What would the point of getting that particular image be if it didn't?

But don't take my word for it -- read the story.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:04, I have no idea what you are saying and your link does not work.

hayshaker said...


Under what circumstances would it not be appropriate to call 911 if you see someone getting mugged?


First of all, getting "thrown down like a rag doll" and getting 20 bucks stolen does not warrant a 911 call, in my opinion. 911 is for emergencies. If the poor man was beaten or in serious danger, then sure, call 911. From the account here (and that's all I have to go on) the dude stole the carrier's money and left. I didn't read any sort of medical emergency to call 911 -after the fact.- If the account is true, I would have expected Bennett to ring 911 if she was witnessing the crime in action. After the fact, no.

hayshaker said...

Hey if the numbskull shoot fits -- where it.

Of course the tape aligns with the credit card usage. What would the point of getting that particular image be if it didn't?

But don't take my word for it -- read the story.


I may be a numbskull but I CAN spell "shoe."

I read the story. I just don't know if they have the expertise to track down criminal paper trails. You assume a lot. Mr A and the 7/11 guys must be masters of the machines! Too bad the 711 guy doesn't know enough to question someone buying cartons of smokes in a 711 on a credit card at 5:00 AM. But he's a master of deduction!

hayshaker said...

I can spell "WEAR" too. :)

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Is Mr. A a minority? That could have something to do with the police reaction considering the Holmes story.

Also, the surveillance photo does not match the description given of a long coat and a black cloth on the head."


Hayshaker, Mr. A happens to be Greek Cypriot and a senior citizen. He has a thick accent.

As far as the different attire is concerned, we all noticed that. He obviously shed the long coat and black head cloth when he went to the store. Mr. A recognized the dude immediately.

Anonymous said...

Hayshaker --

In Bennett's own account of what happened she said she saw the man being attacked:

"He [Mr. A] was getting mugged on my front steps, and I went outside in my pajamas and broke it up."

Bernie's story said the man was thrown onto Bennett's porch steps like a "ragdoll." Keep in mind that the gentleman is 78 years old. Do you know of a "gentle" way to throw a 78 year-old down on steps?

Also, if someone asks you to call 911 there's no need for you to exercise your judgment about whether the person is sufficiently injured or whether the attack or crime they suffered warrants a call -- you just call 911. To do anything less is apalling.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hayshaker,

Mr. A, when he called the credit card company, was given a list of the precise things bought with the credit card. He wrote everything down and went to the store. The manager retrieved the surveillance photo f the person who was using Mr. A's card. My copy of the photo is grainy, but Mr. A recognized that items from that list (cartons of cigarettes) were being purchased with his card. He also noticed a few aberrations. Although it is not clear from my copy, this assailant was holding a screwdriver for some reason.

Too bad the 711 guy doesn't know enough to question someone buying cartons of smokes in a 711 on a credit card at 5:00 AM. But he's a master of deduction!

Dpn't snark a 7-11 employee for not being a paid detective when the APD itself is not doing its job.

hayshaker said...

The account said she promised to call the police. The police does not equal 911. Maybe she did call the police and they didn't give a rat's ass - as evidenced by Mr. A's subsequent dealings with them.

It's too bad that Bennett just can't be honest about what happened.

hayshaker said...


Dpn't snark a 7-11 employee for not being a paid detective when the APD itself is not doing its job.


Signatures and IDs should be checked. It's not rocket science. There is no wonder this type of theft occurs on a wide scale basis. The stores just allow it to happen. I know I get hassled if my sig isn't on the card.

Bill Villa said...

"Is this the same detective Thomas Anderson was recently given a commendation for achievement as reported in a May 15, 2008, MC article?"

... wow, reads like everybody on the force got an award. And speaking of award-winning APD members, I miss Officer Michael Kenderski.

Officer Kenderski was a perennial winner (5-6 years in a row) of the Pennsylvania Top Gun Award for arresting drunk drivers in Lehigh County.

DA Jim Martin charged Officer Kenderski with using excessive force while arresting some legitimately bad guys (and a girl) with lengthy police and incarceration records (cleverly described in The Morning Call as "teenagers") and forced Kenderski to resign from the force immediately to avoid going to jail himself.

No warning, no suspension, no re-training, no counseling, no benefit of the doubt for an award-winning police officer (as if we can afford to lose any police officers in Allentown these days), DA Jim Martin just got Kenderski booted off the force-- no questions asked, by, for example, anyone from The Morning Call.

When it comes to protecting the rights of hardened criminals and drunk drivers so that they can drive drunk without having to worry about Top Gun Officer Michael Kenderski arresting them, DA Jim Martin's got it covered.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Maybe she did call the police and they didn't give a rat's ass"

In two previous accounts of this incident, Bennett acknowledges she failed to call 9-1-1.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Is this the same detective Thomas Anderson was recently given a commendation for achievement as reported in a May 15, 2008, MC article?"

I honestly don't know, but don't think Detective Anderson is lazy or that he doesn't care or that he hates minorities. I do think he is overwhelmed and probably has too much on his plate.

Anonymous said...

This is perhaps the best blog you've ever posted.

hayshaker said...

In two previous accounts of this incident, Bennett acknowledges she failed to call 9-1-1.

Yep, you are right. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is happening to our city???

I've always believed in people being inherently good until proven otherwise, and that inherently bad people were in the distinct minority. Is this a totally naive point of view anymore?

It's depressing to say the least...

hayshaker said...

By the way, have you tried getting a Bennett comment on any of this? I mean besides the two statements?

Bill Villa said...

The APD arresting officer in my daughter Sheena's death case was outstanding. With zero fanfare (I almost didn't notice he was there), he and his wife attended Sheena's Memorial Service at St. Thomas More. His only connection to Sheena was that he arrested the homicidal drunk driver who killed her. I won't get him in trouble by naming him. He knows who he is and how Sheena's family feels about him. He's a world class police officer. And human being. The APD needs 100 more just like him.

I take back (if you'll let me) and apologize for calling Detective Anderson a "slacker." I have no first-hand knowledge of this. DA Jim Martin I do; he's a total slacker.

hayshaker said...

What the hell is happening to our city???

I've always believed in people being inherently good until proven otherwise, and that inherently bad people were in the distinct minority. Is this a totally naive point of view anymore?

It's depressing to say the least...


It's not unusual for witnesses of crimes to look the other way. I don't believe this necessarily makes them "inherently bad" people. (Unless you are speaking of the lousy mugger.) Unfortunately, Bennett is not being honest. If her second story is the truth, it doesn't sound like it was unusual to have "Traylor" trash tussling outside on a regular basis. If her second story is true, she could have not recognized the innocent bystander. (This story is said to be lies by the victim so we are at an impasse.)

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I take back (if you'll let me) and apologize for calling Detective Anderson a "slacker." I have no first-hand knowledge of this."

No problem from me, Bill. I suspect that Detective Anderson is probably overwhelmed with work. Either that, or he is what some cops call ROD (retired on duty).

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hayshaker,

Besides the two comments I already have from Ms. Bennett, I have no other statement.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

Been away for a few days.

Isn't Bernie's work on this story reminiscent of what we used to expect from our local newspaper?

You all know the drill. Local politicos and civil servants doing things under the protective eye of an independent, unbiased press.

A checks and balance kind of relationship that served to benefit good citizens with less power (individually) to effect change upon what concerns them.

The current Morning Call management is either asleep at the wheel or so entrenched in its own political agenda that it forgets the critical role newspapers once played in our nation's culture.

Sad times in the Allentown community.

Anonymous said...

Hayshaker, I'm not even talking about Bennett as much as everyone involved in this mess. The mugger. Allentown Mayoral administrations (particularly Afflerbach and Pawlowski) who let the police force get decimated and haven't done what is necessary to protect citizens. Jim Martin - if he's done 1/2 of what Bill Villa has said (and I have no reason at all to doubt anything Bill has said, I can't imagine going through what he has) then Martin should be brought up on charges himself. The Morning Call management - I've never seen a more dysfunctional, incompetent group in my life.

I'm getting worn out by all of this....

Bernie O'Hare said...

Retired ASD teacher,

Nice to hear from you. Sadly, I must confess I am nothing like an independent, unbiased press. I am independent enough, but am a Dent supporter. Although I don't think that has much to do with this story, you should know it. Also, I have to tell you there are some excellent reporters from both newspapers who could write much better stories in far less time. I do think that, in this instance, the MC has dropped the ball, especailly in the way it responded to one of its own. Mr. A may not be technically employed by the paper, but I am appalled at the total lack of concern from the top and the sloppy way this was originally reported.

michael molovinsky said...

today pawlowski addressed the neighborhood around muhlenberg elementary school at the jewish community center on the subject of crime. this is an area where he received enormous support both in the 05 mayoral elections and his recommendations the 07 council races. the biggest concern these people had were pedestrian problems such as how many muhlenberg college students are allowed to reside in any one dwelling. to use a recent expression from a well known pastor, the chickens are coming home to roost. will people really buy the power point presentation that surveillance camera's and shot spotters are solutions to our problems? is ten blocks from hell still far enough?

Anonymous said...

MM, I assume that meeting was during the day given that you're telling us about it now.

I'm not sure that time of day would work for a meeting of this type? Who would attend given that most people are at work and probably can't leave to attend? Given the questions asked, it sure doesn't look like a productive use of anyone's time.

Bill Villa said...

"No problem from me, Bill. I suspect that Detective Anderson is probably overwhelmed with work." -Bernie

Thanks, Bern. And yep, it's certainly likely he's overwhelmed. Let's give Detective Anderson the benefit of the doubt and some time to get that bad guy. Also, Mr. A's obtaining of that shot (as much as I admire his chutzpah in getting it) may have somehow rendered it not usable or inadmissible (the crooks have all the protective rights, unfortunately) and hence Anderson's snapping, "You're not supposed to have that." I hope this isn't the case.

For those of you who are following my parallels ...

DA Jim Martin's bellowing at me (I'LL GET YOU! I'LL GET YOU IN THE MEDIA!) when he knew I knew the crash speed had nothing to do with Martin being upset I might spill the beans prematurely on it and ruin his chances to make a big deal out of it during a trial and/or at sentencing.

You see ... Mr. Martin subsequently informed me that that surrealistically high crash speed "was not going to be a factor here."

Oh really.

During a 12/07 meeting I had with APD Chief Roger MacLean, Chief MacLean seemed equally puzzled as I was over why DA Jim Martin would get so worked up at me over the crash speed info leaking out there >> if he wasn't planning on using it in his prosecution.

But possibly Chief MacLean was feigning his puzzlement. As was I.

You see, the only reason DA Jim Martin didn't want that crash speed out there was because he was trying to go as easy as possible on the criminal defendant he was blatantly siding with.

For this same reason, DA Jim Martin's office had literally nothing to say at sentencing regarding the fact that my daughter Sheena was pregnant at the time of her death. Astoundingly, they never even mentioned it. Until Judge Steinberg reminded them about it.

In handing down a state prison sentence that was nearly double the state's mandatory minimum sentence, Judge Steinberg cited THREE things in sending Sheena's killer to the slammer for 5.5 to 12 years-- TWO OF WHICH DA JIM MARTIN HAD DONE HIS ABSOLUTE DAMNEDEST TO DOWNPLAY IF NOT DOWNRIGHT CONCEAL:

1. The surrealistically high crash speed
2. The grossly high BAC (.24, 3X the legal limit)
3. The pregnancy

I just wanted everyone to know what I mean when I say that DA Jim Martin is a total slacker. He's also a total disgrace to Lehigh County jurisprudence.

By the way, The Morning Call's screaming headline the day after sentencing thoughtfully blared:

DUI CRASH VICTIM PREGNANT

Bill Villa said...

Readers & Commenters here ...

please consider taking a deep breath, mustering up some courage, and doing whatever you can to help people like Mr. A and me bring these local justice system and media bastards down. In your heart, you know we'll all be better off without them ...

Anonymous said...

Bill V. I had never heard the whole story regarding your daughter's passing until this blog and NOW I see why you feel as you do about Allentown law enforcement. I also attended today's 1:00pm Community Policing meeting and was amused by a rather bold woman who asked questions directly to the Mayor and Police Commisioner about seemingly conflicting statements made and two genetlemen who bought an actual letter (documentation) in regards to the police situation in A-town. I had to leave early but sorry I missed you MM. And yes, agin, the crowd was not a true representation of A-town, so how could TRUE questions be asked. Maybe the evening crowd will be more diverse (a WFMZ channel 69 reporter actually asked if either my partner and I could do an interview with him in spanish for the ESPANOL edition) People are getting desperate.....

Alfonso

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Also, Mr. A's obtaining of that shot (as much as I admire his chutzpah in getting it) may have somehow rendered it not usable or inadmissible (the crooks have all the protective rights, unfortunately) and hence Anderson's snapping, "You're not supposed to have that." I hope this isn't the case."

The concern is that any ID of the suspect weould be rendered inmadmissible. Since Mr. A obtained this on his own and in spite of the police instead of because of them, no one could argue there is any concerted attempt to taint the ID. I think Mr. A's ID would still be admissible.

Moreover, even if it were excluded, that picture is enough to convict the assailant of receiving, ID theft, etc.

If Mr. A had been a good little boy and waited, he'd have nothing.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I agree w/ a previous poster - this is one of the best threads I've seen. I'm glad to see the passion, without it we're goners.

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Say I, if your from the law enforcement community and I will do what I need to do to ensure that my family eats.

Let freedom personal liberty be DAMMED!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dude/dudette, I have no idea what you're trying to say. If you're attempting to justify the mugging and assault of a 78 year old man, try that somehwere else. His family needs to eat, too.

michael molovinsky said...

i would like to clarify i was NOT at the crime meeting today. my comments were based on my knowledge of the traveling dog and pony show pawlowski is now working, and also some familiarity with today's particular neighborhood group. glad to hear from alfonso that the mayor faced some hard questions.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am deleting an OT comment that somehow tries to blame this on McCain, I think.

Anonymous said...

MM thanks for the clarification and Alfonso thanks for the feedback.

Anyone care to bet what the MC will do (or not do) with this in tomorrow's paper?

Bill Villa said...

"If Mr. A had been a good little boy and waited, he'd have nothing." -Bernie

Well I know how this goes. Without the screaming, kicking, biting, punching, throwing elbows, pulling hair, screaming some more, figuratively head-butting Allentown "justice system" officials, and (most importantly) those 600 letters in an election season, Sheena's killer would have gotten house arrest or maybe gotten off completely. I'm convinced of this. Jimbo. You picked the wrong grieving father to try screwing. Fuck you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Should the MC decide to look at this story, I'd think it would be several days before anything appeared in the paper. This is one reason why I wish the Mc had some competition in Allentowen. Its Easton coverage is very good, but that's bc it is spurred on by the ET. Reporters will readily admit that competition makes them better.

Right now, my main concern is that Mr. A is going to be sent packing tomorrow. I hope those concerns are misplaced.

Anonymous said...

They would be insane to fire this old guy! He was mugged for godsakes, but he still finished his paper route.

How do you let someone like that go?

If this guy loses his job -- blame Bennett and then cancel your subscription to the Morning Call.

Sometimes the Herd needs to Stampede.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That possibility hit me this afternoon. I think it is unlikely, but it bothers me.

Oh, for Pete's sake! said...

If he does get fired, Mr. O'Hare, please do a follow-up report on that. Beyond trying to keep those who let him down accountable, there may be several readers of this blog who would be interested in hiring someone as dedicated, hard-working and tough as Mr. A.

Bill Villa said...

"Sometimes the Herd needs to Stampede."

It's time ...

Bill Villa said...

"Bill V. I had never heard the whole story regarding your daughter's passing until this blog and NOW I see why you feel as you do about Allentown law enforcement."

Thanks, Alfonso. We need to keep a flood light shining on the colluding crony bastards at The Morning Call and the Lehigh County District Attorney's office. Things have been way too cozy between these two organizations for far too long ...

Anonymous said...

Bill Villa,I am very sorry for your tragic loss. Everytime you post however, you always mention the Morning Call and Jim Martin. Please, please post the name of the real criminal... that drunken bum that did this. Post his name, address, phone number, pic etc all day and all night. Thats where all the blame belongs. I want to know what that drunk killers name is and I am sure a lot of others want to know too. Thanks Henry

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill Villa,

We have no need for any kind of vigilante justice. We know the Defendant's name. We know he is in prison, having rec'd a very stiff sentence. Henry is a mininformed fool who would just get you in serious trouble and then run away.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Any further comments that suggest or urge an invasion of privacy or vigilante behavior will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Bernie says """Henry is a mininformed fool who would just get you in serious trouble and then run away."" Bernard ,this is a lie on your part. Thanks but no thanks Henry

Bill Villa said...

"Bill Villa, We have no need for any kind of vigilante justice. We know the Defendant's name. We know he is in prison, having rec'd a very stiff sentence."- Bernie

Yep, not to worry Bernie. People know who killed Sheena Villa. And where he is. And that his dad's law firm has represented The Morning Call for many years-- a relevant fact the "newspaper" never disclosed in any of its framed agenda coverage of Sheena's case.

And while I believe true justice would have been a third degree murder charge (because of the demonstrable malice involved in Sheena's death) and a state prison sentence of 12.5 to 25 years (i.e., what Pennsylvania's half-dozen other recipients of a third degree murder conviction for a DUI death got sentenced to), the 5.5 to 12 year sentence he got was rather miraculous considering it came down in crony-closed-loop Allentown PA.

Had Sheena's killer showed some remorse ... and had DA Jim Martin sided with Sheena's family instead of with the homicidal drunk driver's family ... I believe this whole thing would have turned out a lot differently.

But from the get-go, this was a case of the connected, the over-privileged, and the unopposed thinking they somehow were entitled to get away with taking the life of a wonderful girl.

We could not let that happen.

Regrettably, DA Jim Martin has not learned anything from having me on him like a buzz saw these past 2 years.

In late September 2007, the night before a scheduled trial, DA Jim Martin's office fixed another DUI homicide case which I am in the process of exposing and bringing appropriate consequences to bear by way of an official investigation by a recognized attorney review and disciplinary action board.

Turns out DA Jim Martin is longtime pals with the criminal defendant's grandfather in the September '07 case. Martin even had the gall to invite this man to attend his swearing-in ceremony in January '08, presumably for some ring-kissing.

It's painful enough to lose a child to a drunk driver. No grieving family should then have to experience the totally needless additional agony of seeing DA Jim Martin siding against their deceased loved one and in favor of the criminal defendant who killed him or her.

I can't let this continue to happen ...

Jesse Smith said...

It's a sad day when the best-performing human in this scenario was the 7-11 clerk. A good ol' mensch, in the best sense of the word.

Jesse Smith said...

It's a sad day when the best-performing human in this scenario was the 7-11 clerk. A good ol' mensch, in the best sense of the word.